NAIROBI, Kenya, September 17 – Civil society organisations have lauded Parliament’s move to annul the unilateral reappointment of Justice Aaron Ringera as the Kenya Anti- Corruption Commission (KACC) Director.
HAKI Focus Executive Director Harun Ndubi said on Thursday that the move signified a new era in Kenyan politics where all leaders were held accountable for their actions.
“This issue of ethnicising things that because Mr Ringera is from Central Province so we must support him as people from GEMA and so forth is politics from the past,” Mr Ndubi said.
“I am sure that most Kenyans especially those in Parliament are very disappointed,” he added.
His sentiments were echoed by the Federation of Kenya Women Lawyers chair person Patricia Nyaundi who said the vote restored the confidence of Kenyans in the Legislature.
“That is a statement that needed to be made especially when we saw what had happened the previous day (Tuesday) that there had been horse-trading and there was the fear in the air that this one would be compromised and we would vote along ethnic lines,” Mrs Nyaundi stated.
“Those ones who stood to their positions must be commended.”
Parliament on Wednesday rejected the reappointment of Justice Aaron Ringera as the KACC Director after a charged debate that saw some government ministers siding with those who were opposed to the appointment.
MPs agreed with a joint Parliamentary committee report saying the President acted unprocedurally by overstepping the KACC Advisory Board and Parliament in the reappointment of Ringera and two of his assistants.
But according to legal experts, Parliament cannot force the President to rescind his decision and the move only sends a strong signal of displeasure by MPs in the way the Executive acted.
The only way MPs could have forced Justice Ringera out would have been to cut of funding to a KACC under him.
But Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta forestalled such a move when he withdrew the Appropriations Bill which was slated for debate before the Motion of adjournment was moved.
Earlier attempts by Ndaragwa MP Jeremiah Kioni and Assistant Minister Peter Munya to bring an amendment to the report by deleting a section that called for annulment of the gazette notice that contained the reappointment were defeated by 86 votes to 45.
Pitching for the adoption of their report, Chairpersons of the joint House Committees on Justice and Legal Affairs and Delegated Legislation Amina Abdallah and Abdikadir Mohammed said their recommendations should not be used as a supremacy fight between the two coalition partners.
In supporting the report, Defense Assistant Minister and Mwingi South MP David Musila said Justice Ringera had failed in his work and as such his reappointment should be revoked.
Former Justice Minister Martha Karua also said the President failed to act procedurally in renewing Mr Ringera’s contract.
She blamed the President’s advisors for misleading him. Parliament is now on recess until November 10.
Earlier there was outrage and condemnation over allegations of a trade off between Rift Valley MPs and their counterparts from Mt. Kenya region over Justice Aaron Ringera’s reappointment and the Mau conservation report.
Central Kenya MPs are said to have agreed to a Mau report that compensates all title holders in exchange for Rift Valley MPs to back Ringera’s stay at the KACC.
The Law Society of Kenya Vice- Chairman James Mwamu said the action has demeaned Parliament and is likely to erode respect accorded to the institution by members of the public.
Kenya National Commission on Human Rights Chairperson Florence Jaoko urged politicians against engaging in such deals saying they erode the dignity of their offices and encourage impunity.